France warned on ‘USB stick’ computer virus scam

Residents in France are being alerted to a data scam involving USB computer drives or “USB sticks” put into letter boxes, the Gendarmerie in the Nord (Hauts-de-France) department has confirmed.

17 May 2019
The scam involves putting USB sticks in letter boxes in hope that curious recipients will plug them in
By Connexion journalist

Scammers have been placing USB sticks in households letter boxes, counting on the curiosity of recipients to plug them into their computers in a bid to find out the contents.

Once the USB stick is plugged in, it installs a virus on the users’ computer, through which the scammers can then access personal, confidential details, including financial and ID information.

This “USB stick scam” was last picked up in France in 2017, but now the Gendarmerie in the Nord department have warned of new reports of the same scheme.

They have warned that the scam can affect anyone across the country.

They advise anyone who receives any kind of drive, USB stick or otherwise - or who finds one in a public place - never to plug it in or use it on any computer, or try to figure out what it contains.

Recipients are instead advised to destroy the stick, or otherwise dispose of it safely.

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France

subscribe newsletter image
Stay informed, have your say, join the community
Boost your inbox with our editor’s pick of news and information about France for residents and second homeowners
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
Updated! Brexit and Britons In France
Featured Help Guide
What Brexit means for British residents, second homeowners and visitors in France - now and after December 31, 2020.
Get news, views and information from France